Forklift truck training website
Peter Harvey from the FLTA talks about forklift speed
Peter Harvey from the Fork Lift Truck Association has written a useful article about forklift trucks and speed and it's reproduced here.
Concern about speeding fork lift trucks is a recurring topic in the questions we receive at the FLTA. There is good reason for this.
With steering and braking characteristics that are different from many types of vehicle, fork lift trucks are not designed to travel at speed. When used incorrectly, especially if traveling at speed, a truck may soon become unstable and shed its load, or even turn over
Regulating speed limits is an important part of creating a safe site. Fully laden, a lift truck traveling through a warehouse has tremendous momentum. For example, a 2.5t capacity truck moving at 1O mph carrying a 2.0t load has a potential destructive force of 20,250 Newton. That's more than a Land Rover Discovery traveling at twice the speed.
Making recommendations for specific speed limits require site-specific knowledge of the business, location and tasks involved. Different operations may mean that different limits should be used. But in general terms, these are:
• 3 mph when working in racking
• 5 mph when working in transit aisles
• 1O mph when traveling in the yard
At the very least, you should:
1. Carry out a risk assessment to determine the maximum speed(s) to be used. Members of the FLTAs Safe User Group have a number of risk assessment resources at their disposal - including the FLTA Risk Assessment Manual which offers practical guidance and generic risk assessments ready for completion.
2. Ensure operators are aware of the speed limits - using signs where appropriate.
3. Enforce speed limits (managers and supervisors)
4. Have a strict system of sanctions in place to deal with those who exceed speed limits. It is so important that a "three strikes and you are out" could be considered.
There is equipment available that can physically control the speed of your fork lift trucks. Some systems allow you to set different maximum speeds for different zones of your site. Your fork lift truck supplier or service provider should be able to advise you the various technological aids.
There is one final aspect to consider. If other employees think that the fork lift trucks are driving too fast - they probably are. Everyone should feel comfortable and safe.
If you are worried about speed at your site you could consider fitting devices like these. They sense how close the truck is to obstacles in the rear and progressively slow the speed down overriding the speed set by the operator. The one I drove slowed right down to a crawl when it came within about 30 cm of a pile of bricks.